That headline is trolling, of course. This clip, dug up from C-SPAN's archives, features Senator Joe Biden solemnly imploring a Republican president not to advance a Supreme Court nominee during "election season." Every single point he makes applies to the current controversy over filling the Scalia vacancy. I've already built my case for why Republicans should decline to confirm virtually any nominee Obama may name. Here is 1992's Uncle Joe gamely galloping in with reinforcements. Watch:
Biden: Hold Off On Supreme Court Nominee Mr. President
Biden to President: No Supreme Court Nominees Until After the Election. #BlatantHypocrisyPosted by Townhall Video on Monday, February 22, 2016
It is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow, or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not--and not--name a nominee until after the November election is completed. The Senate, too, Mr. President, must consider how it would respond to a Supreme Court vacancy that would occur in the full throes of an election year. It is my view that if the President goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and Johnson and presses an election-year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over...
It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over...Others may fret that this approach would leave the Court with only eight members for some time, but as I see it, Mr. President, the cost of such a result, the need to reargue three or four cases that will divide the Justices four to four are quite minor compared to the cost that a nominee, the President, the Senate, and the Nation wouldhave to pay for what would assuredly be a bitter fight, no matter how good a person is nominated by the President, if that nomination were to take place in the next several weeks. In the end, this may be the only course of action that historical practice and practical realism can sustain.
The best line of WaPo's write up of this just-unearthed address: "Biden’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment." I wonder why. Not only does Biden suggest that the Senate Judiciary "seriously consider" not scheduling hearings for any Bush nominee offered "in the full throes of an election year," he asks Bush to follow precedent and not even name a nominee. That's a step further than Republicans have gone this year; virtually every Republican has said that Obama has the right to name a candidate to fill the opening, just as the Senate has the right to reject that pick, either through votes or inaction. Liberals may argue that Biden's speech came a few months deeper into 1992's election cycle, and that he left the door open to supporting a potential consensus pick. Good luck with the former argument (especially in light of Schumer's 2007 remarks), and given Obama's track record, the latter possibility seems remote in the extreme. Lame duck minority leader Harry Reid angrily denounced the GOP from the floor today. He accused Republicans of holding "an entire branch of government hostage," prattling on about the constitution and the Senate's sacred obligations. Please, tell us more, Harry:
"The duties of the United States Senate are set forth in the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote."
That was Reid in...2005, just after President Bush had won re-election. America wasn't in the throes of a presidential election year, or even a midterm election year, at the time. Reid was advocating pure means-to-an-end obstructionism, which Democrats have pioneered and escalated at every opportunity on this front. Couple these Biden and Reid flashbacks with the Schumer video from 2007 -- to say nothing of Obama and Hillary's Alito filibuster -- and yesteryear's Senate Democrats have made an airtight case for today's Senate Republicans. Barack Obama will not replace Justice Scalia. That decision will be left to the next president, after the American people (who are evenly divided in this partisan fight) have had their say. I'll leave you with The Biden Standard making its way into floor arguments. Nice:
Grassley reading Biden on Senate floor right now.— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) February 22, 2016
UPDATE - Ballgame:
McConnell, Cornyn, Grassley all embracing 'Biden standard.' GOP Leadership standing strong. Obama replacing Scalia ain't happening.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 23, 2016